KU garden of native medicinal plants to hold summer solstice tour on Friday

photo by: Contributed photo

A bed of yarrow blooms in KU's Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden, just north of Lawrence. A tour of the garden will be held 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2019, for the summer solstice.

On the longest day of the year, a University of Kansas research program is inviting the public to get outdoors and learn more about some plants that only bloom in the summer.

The KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden will host a summer tour at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The event, which is free and open to the public, coincides with the summer solstice, the day of the year with the longest period of daylight.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done a summer solstice walk,” said Kelly Kindscher, scientist for KU’s Kansas Biological Survey and one of the tour leaders. “We wanted to talk about how plants are affected by summer; specifically, certain plants only bloom after you get to summer because they are affected by day length.”

The garden, located just north of Lawrence at 1865 East 1600 Road, currently features bee balm and echinacea, among other plants. The tour will focus on the native Kansas plants and their uses for medicinal purposes, currently and historically.

“A lot of these are still used currently. Echinacea is a major medicine for people today warding off colds and flu,” Kindscher said. “But a lot of it is historical, both how it was used by doctors 100 years ago and we speak a lot about Native American use of these plants.”

Some plants in the garden are not currently in bloom, but Kindscher and Jennifer Moody, coordinator for the garden, will still talk about those plants on the tour.

Along with Kindscher and Moody, students who work the garden and Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners will also be on hand to answer questions.

photo by: Kathy Hanks

A sign notes KU’s Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden, located just north of Lawrence at 1865 E. 1600 Road.

The garden was established in 2010 as a project of the KU Medicinal Plant Research Program. It serves as a gateway to the KU Field Station, which was established in 1947 and is managed by the Kansas Biological Survey.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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